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Feb 25, 2015 10:09 PM

First on NH1: Top pro-GOP outside group slams Gov. Hassan in new radio ad

NH1 Political Director - NH1.com

CONCORD - For the second straight day, national Republicans are targeting Gov. Maggie Hassan.

NH1 has learned that one of the largest and most powerful pro-GOP outside groups will launch a radio ad on Thursday that slams the Democratic governor and possible 2016 U.S. Senate candidate over her budget proposal.

"Gov. Hassan wants to raise a tax that hits lower income people especially hard. She even bets on increased state revenue from Keno to finance more spending. Gov. Hassan's budget is a risky gamble and the wrong set of priorities for New Hampshire families and businesses," says the announcer in a minute long spot released by Crossroads GPS. That's the non-profit sister organization to American Crossroads, the super PAC co-founded and steered by former top President George W. Bush political adviser Karl Rove.

"The Union Leader called her budget quote a disappointment, saying the governor quote made her priorities clear: more spending, higher taxes, more state employees and no real innovation," the announcer adds.

The spot ends with the announcer urging listeners to "tell your state legislators reject Gov. Hassan's tax and spend budget because it doesn't reflect New Hampshire values," directing them to the group's website.

Crossroads GPS tells NH1 that it will spend $230,000 to run the ad on radio stations statewide in the Granite State for three out of the next four weeks.

"All over the country, liberals are embracing higher taxes instead of fiscal discipline to address budget problems. With all eyes on New Hampshire right now, we think it's important to speak out and encourage Granite Staters to take the lead in pushing back Gov. Hassan's tax-laden spending plan," said Crossroads GPS CEO Steven Law, in a statement.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party fired back on Thursday morning.

"New Hampshire voters don't look kindly on out-of-staters like Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers who think they can buy their power here," said NHDP Chairman Ray Buckley.

"Karl Rove's radical agenda puts his special interest donors first while making middle class families and small businesses pay the price. Karl Rove's backward anti-middle class policies aren't welcome in the Granite State."

Hassan has not said if she'll run in 2016 for a third two-year term as governor, or challenge GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who's up for re-election. National Democrats see Hassan as the top prize in their hunt for a formidable candidate to try and knock of Ayotte. Hassan's not expected to make any announcement on her political plans for 2016 until the state's next two-year budget is hammered out.

As Hassan mulls her political future, the state GOP and national Republican groups, such as the National Republican Senatorial Committee, have attacked her over her budget and her out of state travel. Wednesday, the NRSC released a web video that slammed the governor over her budget proposal.

Hassan's communications director defended the governor.

"Governor Hassan has presented a fiscally responsible, balanced budget - with no income tax or sales tax - that helps expand opportunity for middle class families, supports job-creating businesses, encourages innovation, and aims to attract and retain more young people here in New Hampshire. In her budget, the Governor is specific and transparent in what she chose to fund - and in what she recognizes that we simply can't afford at this time," William Hinkle told NH1.

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